Two additional applicants filed for the interim Douglas County Clerk position by the Friday deadline. Both currently work in the Douglas County Clerk’s Office.
Rosemarie Wess is currently the chief deputy clerk and had been selected by outgoing Douglas County Clerk Patricia Hitt as her choice to step into the interim role. Andrew Taylor is the office manager in the Clerk’s Office.
They join former Douglas County commissioner candidate Dan Loomis to make three candidates for the post.
Voters will select a permanent replacement in 2020, but the interim clerk will hold the position until the winner of that election takes office in January 2021.
Loomis is the only one of the three who has filed to run in the 2020 election, but candidates have until March 10 to file.
Taylor said he’s considering filing for the election, while Wess said she does not intend to run for election.
As chief deputy clerk, Wess has stepped into the clerk’s duties periodically since 2015 whenever the clerk was absent.
“I am interested in the position, I have firsthand knowledge of the position, and I’d like the opportunity to perform it officially,” Wess said.
Wess started working for the county in 2000. She analyzed data and served as a supervisor for the Douglas County Health Department. She is also a former human resources director for the county. She joined the Clerk’s Office after the Health Department closed.
Prior to joining the county, Wess worked for MCI WorldCom in Texas as a network engineer. Before that she worked as a contractor for NASA, testing satellite communication software.
It was an exciting time, she said, but she was happy to leave that life for Roseburg. She started out here buying a heating and air-conditioning business.
“We wanted to go to a quieter less stressful life than we had in Texas,” she said.
She said Roseburg is also beautiful.
“I’m very happy here,” she said.
Wess said she doesn’t want to run in the election because she wants to focus on her volunteer work.
“Basically I volunteer for several nonprofit organizations in the community, and I would like to be able to do more of that support, provide more support to these groups while I still have my health,” she said.
Wess volunteers for Friends of Umpqua Valley Police K9 Programs, the Umpqua Valley Humane Society and the For the Love of Paws veterinary clinic.
Taylor has worked in the Clerk’s Office for 3.5 years and has worked in records much longer. His previous work was in medical records. Like Wess, Taylor previously worked for the Health Department. He started there as a medical records lead in 2013.
Prior to that he worked in the medical records department of Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. He moved to Roseburg after his daughter graduated from high school to be closer to family in his hometown of Coos Bay.
“I made the transition from private and confidential records to public records,” he said.
He said it doesn’t feel weird to run against Wess, even though she hired him from Alaska and has been his mentor.
Taylor said he would like to increase outreach and education to the public. He’d like to make sure that voters understand things like the fact that individuals serving on special district boards are volunteers, not paid for their efforts. He’d also like more people to understand that they need to inform the Clerk’s Office about changes in their lives, such as moving to a different address or having a stroke that affects their signature.
“We get a lot of voter questions and misinformation. I want to make sure that proper information is getting out there,” he said.
Taylor enjoys woodworking and is a Master Gardener, which he said is a great way to connect with the community. He has two gardens, one in Douglas County and one in Coos Bay. “I’m constantly running between the two, managing both gardens and madly canning as I go,” he said.
The interim clerk will be chosen by the Douglas County Board of Commissioners. The candidates are slated to be interviewed in a public meeting at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in Room 216 of the Douglas County Courthouse, 1036 SE Douglas Ave., Roseburg. Public comment will be taken.
An appointment is expected to be made Oct. 2.
Hitt announced in August that she would step down at the end of this month, before her term was ended, in order to spend more time with family.